Multiplan was an early spreadsheet program developed by Microsoft. Known initially by the code name "EP" (for "Electronic Paper"), it was introduced in 1982 as a competitor for VisiCalc.
Multiplan was released first for computers running CP/M; it was developed using a Microsoft proprietary p-code C compiler as part of a portability strategy that facilitated ports to systems such as MS-DOS, Xenix, Commodore 64 and 128, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A (on four 6K GROMs and a single 8K ROM), Radio Shack TRS-80 Model II, TRS-80 Model 4, TRS-80 Model 100 (on ROM), Apple II, and Burroughs B-20 series.
Despite the release of Microsoft Chart, a graphics companion program, Multiplan continued to be outsold by Lotus 1-2-3. It was replaced by Microsoft Excel, which followed some years later on both the Apple Macintosh (1985) and Microsoft Windows (1987).
Multiplan for the Macintosh, available the month Apple released the computer, was the first third-party Macintosh software and the only spreadsheet for the Macintosh for its first year. Bill Gates was repeatedly heard in 1985 saying that Microsoft made more money on Multiplan for the Macintosh than any other platform. It was proficient at making graphs and charts and was often bundled with some Macs. However, Multiplan only lasted for about a year before being overtaken by the more successful Excel.
Ahoy! called the Commodore 64 version of Multiplan, distributed by Human Engineered Software, a "professional quality spreadsheet ... There is not enough room in this article to mention all the mathematical operations performed ... Documentation is lengthy but well written". A second review in the magazine noted the limitation of the computer's 40-column screen, but praised the ability to stop any ongoing action. It also praised the documentation, and concluded that "its ease of use and foolproof design make Multiplan an outstanding value". BYTE said that "Multiplan for the Macintosh is a winner", stating that combining other versions' power and features with the Macintosh's graphics and user interface "rivals, and in many ways exceeds, anything else available in the spreadsheet genre".